I spent a long … veerrryyy long … day at Portsmouth. Specifically the Historic Dockyard.]

HMS Warrior

Saw the HMS Warrior, Britain’s first major iron hulled steam warship (really steam & sail) which still rides at anchor as it did when I was last here in 1988.

HMS Warrior

Compared to HMS Victory (less than a century older) she’s much much less cramped, even for the ordinary sailors, and would have been much less unpleasant to serve on board.

Messing tables set up – it doesn’t show on the photo but I can actually stand up straight here without knocking my head!

The ship was so modern that it was the first in the RN to have washing machines!

Muscle powered, of course. But an improvement over a bucketful of seawater!

The Officers, of course, did rather better for themselves.

Senior Officer’s Wardroom

HMS M.33

One of only three surviving WW1 vessels to have served at Gallipoli, the M.33 was a 6″ gun Monitor (2 x 6″ guns) which also served in Northern Russia against the Bolsheviks where she survived several direct hits which, fortunately, either didn’t hit anything important and went straight through or didn’t explode and disintegrated without doing serious damage.

She’s in permanent drydock and was only saved as, over the years, the RN and the Dockyard played ‘pass the parcel’ using her as everything from accommodation through training and as a workshop.

She’s been restored to the WW1 Dazzle pattern camo paint that she would have worn at Gallipoli.

M.33 in dazzle camo

Inside was, of course, quite cramped even for the small crew she carried (around 30 men) and she barely had enough bunkerage to reach Gibraltar from Portsmouth … and, even then, on her first trip there to reach Gallipoli she had to be towed by the collier escorting her as the headwinds were enough so that she was chewing through fuel too fast.

This is the officer’s Wardroom – of course, there were only three in addition to the ‘captain.’

The Mary Rose

When I was here last in 1988 they were still spraying her with a mist of cold seawater and you had to enter a temporary structure through a makeshift airlock.

The spraying ceased several years ago, and the wood is now stable enough that they have only to keep it in a permanent bubble in the new purpose built structure around it and pump that full of dehumidified air.

They’ve also had 30 odd more years to do a lot more preservation and interpretation of the finds that were made at the original sinking site and have, for example, identified the Master Carpenter’s probable bones and cabin, ditto the Master Gunner. They have also identified the probable Purser’s cabin as well as items belonging to one of the senior offices and the body and personal gear of one of the archers aboard.

Amongst many many other things, of course.

As she may have looked at the time of her sinking (there are no surviving pictures)
As she looks now – they still haven’t found the sterncastle (but they’re looking!)

HMS Victory

The oldest commissioned warship in the RN. And bloody cramped. The further down you go the lower the headroom becomes … and for someone who’s 6’1″ and a bit it is really uncomfortable (especially since I’m not as limber as I was back in 1988 when it was, therefore, less of an issue) … on the very lowest level I had to bend over double to pass under the deck beams and about 3/4 even between them.

Not too bad on the first Gundeck
This was the second or third gundeck, and it still wasn’t too bad.

For fairly obvious reasons I couldn’t take photos on the lower decks … couldn’t straighten up enough.

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